Sunday, October 16, 2011

Reconsidering Adele

So sue me.

Its not like i had anything personal against her. Just avoided Adele's music more than anything else. Granted, the woe is me, i got done wrong isn't exactly my wheelhouse. i'm more a yank on the bootstraps (or something), get over it (with plenty of deep seated avoidance) so spewing it all over the place.....distasteful. But, I'd heard 19 a few times, heard "Chasing Pavements" a few more times than that and with 21, gave it a listen or two and just didn't need to hear it again. Plus she has become ubiquitous, which is reason enough (Don't believe the hype) to blank somebody (although of course, she immediately went into the MHD, just in case). Also if you can seriously believe this, "Rolling in the Deep" didn't do anything for me. Good for her but end of story.

Except, Shawn kinda liked her (obviously KS95 played the heck out of her) and thought she had a great voice. So I made him a copy and we listened to it a few times and debating going to her concert (although that didn't happen for whatever reason). So either listening through his ears (oddly enough he's over her now), hearing to the rest of the album tracks as opposed to "Rolling" for the 300th time, or maybe just listening to 21 out of sequence and in small car bites from August to now (i listened to the full album in the car yesterday driving up to the cabin) i've grown to appreciate it. In fact i really like it. And it could be a contender.

She does have a great voice and knows how to use it. There are some great songs on the album (if you assume side one has 5 tracks and side 2 six songs, it's the first 3 songs on each side that are the best tracks on the disc. I'm pretty sure I like the 3 songs on side two (He Won't Go, Take It All and I'll Be Waiting) better than the singles (the first three tracks: Rolling, Deep, Tables) In fact, i think "I'll Be Waiting" is my favorite song on the album. It was random play that shed all the production and angst fatigue that had pushed this track deep into the background during those first coast to coast listens. Funny, how you pull some of the songs out of context (5, 6, and 7 especially) and they shine all the more (maybe she needs to reconsider the producer and her songwriting themes for album 3).

Even on scrub songs, where the songwriting is a bit rote and production gets a couple extra layers of frosting to make up for the flat cake (this is pretty much everything but songs 1-3, and 6-8), her presentation transcends the pedestrian effort. Her voice is an amazing instrument, power and finesse, swoops and sobs, a whisper just as powerful and a full throated roar. And on the last few songs on side 2, she has a Bonnie Raitt quality to her timbre and phrasing that i really like (even if I'll pretty much skip the songs after I'll Be Waiting.)

So yes, i was wrong. I should have given it a chance back in January. But still, isn't it fashionable to be late to the party?


  1. I'll Be Waiting is my favorite too along with the hidden track. I think if you saw her live, you would be on board 100%. She is so lovable, funny, and blows the roof off the place. Have you heard her cover of "I can't make you love me"?

  2. OK, I guess I must re-evaluate after this passionate defense (and I love your take on Cults, too!). Also, I forget, have we talked about John Legend's great cover of "Rolling in the Deep?" (Which, despite my not loving the album, is probably my song of the year in its original version). Heck, a drag queen at the 90s did a lamelip-synch to it a couple weeks ago and I was thrilled by Adele's performance.

  3. I had a horrible thought about your re-appraisal (or re-Adelesal): This will be a rare and frightening occasion, not unlike a total eclipse, when you and Grammy will be in accord.

  4. i think the last time that happened was when christopher cross won best new artist.